For pretty much my whole life I’ve loved working with younger kids. I was always the go-to person during family events to hang out with my younger family members, and be a babysitter when needed. I’ve been a camp counsellor, and I currently work in a school as an individual aide. I love what I do more than anything in this world. Work never feels like work to me, it’s something that I genuinely enjoy being able to do. I don’t think I ever realized working with kids would teach me as much as it has. Somedays I feel like I learn more from the kids than they do from me. So here are 10 things I’ve learned from working with kids.
Kids are funny
Sometimes they say things or do things and you honestly just don’t know what to say or do besides laugh! Having a student come running up to you to let you know that they did something crazy (like kiss a tree) makes the job so much more bearable.
You learn facts you never knew would be true
Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh, or just sit there and nod at the kid. I was once told by a student that because I have green eyes it means I’m Irish. I mean, I am Irish and I do have green eyes, but I’m not sure that’s how it works.
Somedays you are going to cry
Working with kids can be frustrating at times. It can feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, and sometimes kids can just be plain mean. I would be lying if I didn’t say sometimes I leave my classroom for my lunch and just break down crying out of frustration. Please remember this if you’re ever in this situation, it is not you and it’s probably just as frustrating for the student (maybe even more.) Just keep doing what you’re doing and I promise, it will get better.
But most days you’re going to laugh
This ties back into bullet 1. Some days my coworkers and I look at each other and have tears streaming down our faces from laughing so hard because of what kids say. Those are definitely the moments you won’t ever forget.
You will never get over that accomplishment feeling
Hearing a nonverbal student say your name for the first time, or witness a student who struggles to read, read their first sentence without any assistance is such an amazing feeling, it almost brings you to tears, and it really reminds you why you are there.
Some students are not going to like you
And that is completely okay! You’re there to be their teacher/aide, and guide, you don’t need to be their best friend, but just remember that these students may have difficulty showing how they feel towards you. Always treat students the way you’d like to be treated. You’ll be amazed when they finally open up.
You will make irreplaceable bonds with some students
When you work with kids every day, you’re bound to become close with them and form relationships with them. You’re going to have kids who make a last impression on you and change your life (and believe me, you’ve done the same for them.)
I worked with a student last year who I became very close with. I saw this particular student for the first time in a while recently and when I first saw them I immediately knew something was wrong, I could see on their face that they were upset. Once they saw me they stopped in their tracks and they gave me the biggest hug. That frown turned into a bright smile and you could tell that they were in a better mood. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you mean to someone until like that happens.
The handmade picture and letters are items you will always cherish
I’m a sucker for homemade cards and pictures. Whenever a student makes me a picture or writes me a note it makes me so happy. I don’t know what it is but just the fact that these students go out of their way to make these items for me is a feeling that I won’t ever get over.
You’ll make some amazing inside jokes.
Like I said earlier, you’ll make some pretty amazing bonds with these kids and as you get to know them along the way you’ll do some pretty funny things that only the two of you will understand. I walk through the hallway sometimes and see a student I have an inside joke with and my coworkers will hear what I say and raise their eyebrows, and smile or laugh but I don’t care it’s a joke between me and the student and it’s something WE understand!
There is no such thing as a “boring” day
Sure, working with kids can be stressful and hectic at times. But you won’t ever be bored. Whether you’re coloring a picture, or going to music class, whatever it is there’s usually never a dull moment.
If I’ve learned anything from being able to work with kids I definitely think it would be that kids are amazing. They have the ability to do whatever they set their mind to. Yes, it can be stressful at times but it is the most rewarding job you’ll be able to experience. I’m so beyond grateful that this is the job that I have.